Spell, by Joe Williams


I put a spell on you,
but it went a bit wrong.
It was meant to make you fall in love with me,
but you ended up covered in boils
and stinking like a sewer.

It was the leg of toad that did it, I’d say.
I took one from the front,
which probably counts as an arm,
now that I think about it.

Still, it worked out OK.
Your boyfriend dumped you.
I always knew he was shallow.

You scratch more than you used to,
and I must admit the smell is a little off-putting,
but you still have your sparkling wit,
and that’s what really counts,
isn’t it?

Joe Williams is a writer and performing poet from Leeds. He has been published in anthologies by OWF Press, Stairwell Books, Picaroon Poetry and Beautiful Dragons Collaborations, and in magazines online and in print. His debut pamphlet, Killing the Piano, will be published by Half Moon Books in September 2017.

Sacred, (With apologies to ‘Right Said Fred’) by Lesley Quayle


I’m too sacred to be paid,
too sacred to be paid, too sacred I’m afraid.
I’m so sacred I don’t care,
so sacred I don’t care,
I live on Sweet Fresh Air.

I’m a housewife, you know what I mean
and I wave my little wand around the kitchen,
round the kitchen, the kitchen, yeh,
I shake my little duster round the kitchen.

I’m too sacred to be paid,
too sacred to be paid, too sacred I’m afraid.
I’m too sacred for the nation,
too sacred for the nation,
don’t need remuneration.

I’m a mother, you know what I mean
and I’m trying to raise the future on a shoestring,
on a shoestring, a shoestring, yeh,
I’m dragging up the future on a shoestring.

I’m too sacred to be paid,
too sacred to be paid, too sacred I’m afraid.
I’m too sacred for a wage,
too sacred for a wage,
free copy for the page.

I’m a poet, you know what I mean,
and I thought that there was more to art than free verse,
than free verse, free verse, yeh,
I’m learning the rewards of writing free verse.

Three Poems by Anthony Watts



I’m all at sea
I’m a stingless bee
I’m a pulled-up weed
I’m an unsown seed
I’m a bow without an arrow
I’m a hawk without a sparrow
I’m a cat without a mouse
I’m a boarded-up house
I’m a glove without a hand
I’m a brassed-off band
I’m a derailed carriage
I’m a broken marriage
I’m a north without a south
I’m a toothless, tongueless mouth.

[First appeared on the Fire River Poets website]

Cheesed Off

O gentle mother Moo

look down from your skyful of daisies

and pity us poor cheeses.

Consider if you will

the cruel grill

the toast

our fair flesh bubbling to a crust.

Share the despair

of Camembert the ennui of Brie

the Danish Blues.

[First published in the Norwich Writers Circle Anthology]

The Lamentable Life and Death of a Fart

Little Houdini, suddenly outside
the shackles of bone, the bondage of flesh and clothing,

meets no applause; bulbs in the room like a genie,

granting nobody’s wish; wanders the airways like
the soul of a dead sinner, until he comes
to the Gates of Fragrance. St. Peter sends him packing.

Rebounding to earth,
he meets the Priestess of Hygiene. She advances,

holding an aerosol, like a crucifix.

[First published in Orbis 97]

Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years. He has won prizes in poetry competitions and has had poems published in magazines and anthologies. His latest collection is The Shell-Gatherer. His main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking – activities which he finds can be happily combined.

As I look through the window, by Kwame Hutchinson


As I look through the window
I see coconut trees dancing in the breeze
Lizards and millipedes.
The sun lights them perfectly
The birds and the monkeys move and sing
Grateful for the fruit the island gives
The bright green and orange butterflies
Flutter their wings
Flower to flower could watch for hours
Even with rainfall and showers
The life of the island is never overpowered.
Snails reveal themselves when the ground is moist as traveling in the heat isn’t a choice.
These sights and sounds fill me with joy.

Dear Mr Coyote, by Simon Williams


As a valued customer with whom you have been trading
for many years, we’d like to apprise you of our latest offers.
Your regular orders for explosives, together with your
continuing requirements for drophammers, piledrivers
and the largest of our anvil models suggest you may
be involved in the metal fabrication or mining industries.
We would be pleased to service your requirements
in these undertakings, Please let us know your needs.

Yours sincerely,

ACME Manufacturing

Dear ACME Manufacturing

Do you have anything for bird control?

Yours faithfully

W E Coyote

Dear Mr Coyote

We have a wide range of netting and gels which may be
deployed to discourage all forms of avian nuisance.


Dear ACME Manufacuring

I was thinking of something more damaging.


Dear Mr Coyote,

We have a number of programmable bird scarers
and also market a remote controlled drone.


Dear ACME Manufacturing

Can the drone be fitted with a chainsaw?


Dear Mr Coyote

The kind of equipment you describe would be
outside its lift limit. Perhaps an imitation hawk
would do what you require.


Dear ACME Manufacturing

Can the imitation hawk grip a stick of Dynamite?


Dear Mr Coyote

We think it could be adapted to do this. You should
be aware of the Health and Safety implications.


Dear ACME Manufacturing

I’ll take a dozen and another of your extra large anvils.


Rush Hour Crush, by Nick Cooke


To the lady gritting her perfect pearly teeth
(I never really saw them, but one can but hope)
at what I took to be some human rights abuse
in the inner pages of this morning’s Metro,

snarling a curse under her perfect minty breath
(I never actually smelt it, but one can but hope)
at whoever the perpetrators may have been
in whatever corner of this putrid planet…

You looked like my kind of red-hot/hot red mama,
so join me at a rally in Parliament Square,
or at an open-mike audition for comics
where we can be a political double act.

I was the little squit in Larkinesque thick specs
opposite you on a Piccadilly Line train
heading for Heathrow, where I flew my sad arse out
on business of an eminently toad-like sort.

I sensed you had the unique ability
to bring out my hitherto buried potential,
boost my confidence, direct me to Specsavers,
and sharpen my focus on the things that matter.

All I can offer in return’s my worshipful
homage to your own unassailed magnificence,
plus maybe a free accounting service for what
I suspect are messy affairs. Coffee some time?

“Nick Cooke has had over 50 poems published in a range of outlets, print and online, as well as two anthologies, Poems For a Liminal Age and To Kingdom Come. His poem ‘Tanis’ won the Wax Poetry and Art Contest in August 2016. He is currently working on his first collection.”

A Cock and Bull Story, by Stella Wulf


A Cock and Bull Story

If I were a bullish kind of fellow,
some horny, rutting bovine in his prime,
I would bellow from the dock
‘it’s that paltry, puffed up cock
who’s the real instigator of the crime.’

Contrary to the cockerel’s mockery
I rarely frequent shops of crockery,
though I admit to a penchant for china.
Meissen, Wedgwood, Copeland Spode,
what could possibly be finer?

So delicately glazed – fine boned,
I could gaze upon them till the cows come home.
I never deign to frolic – I’m not a brute,
I’m really very nimble and astute,
(though I know I shouldn’t say it so myself).

I shouldn’t have gone in
but that splendid Minton shelf
of figurines and flowery crocks,
well, it fair knocked off my socks!
It set my heart aflutter, made me wish,

sending quivers through my withers
and a tremor to my tail that made it swish.
It swept off plates and mugs
and a pair of Stafford pugs
that flew off in all directions

and the dish!

The Worcester with the peaches and the pears,
the one that I’ve been coveting for years.

Can I say in my defence that I was piqued,
at the damning lie that issued from its beak,
and I’m sorry that I went beyond the pale,
and that the cockerel didn’t live to tell the tale.

Stella Wulf’s poems have been published in both print and online magazines and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University.

Poem, by Mary Walker


This is the tale of ‘Ding Dong Decker.’

He had a short and stubby pecker.

Why was he called, Ding Dong? My friend,

He fitted a clapper to his bell-end.

In cold weather he hung it over the toilet seat,

to avoid getting piddle on his little bare feet.

My name is Mary and I like to write for fun.

Three Poems from Annie Fisher



Yesterday was miserable,
It moaned and groaned all day,
I said I didn’t like it,
Now it’s gone away.

(originally published in ‘the caterpillar’ magazine, summer 2015)

I was just thinking…

Does a mullet have a gullet?
Does a lemur have a femur?
Do flies have hairy thighs?

Does an adder have a bladder?
Do winkles have wrinkles?
Do krill get ill?

Do eels wear high-heels?
Do crows have pigeon toes?
Who knows?

Tall Order

I’ll have
the sun
in a bun

the moon
on a stick

make it

Annie Fisher is a children’s storyteller. Her pamphlet ‘Infinite In All Perfections’ was published by Happenstance Press in 2016.

Dahling, how are you?, by Kathy Gee


DAHling, how ARE you?

I call across the room to Cynthia (who’s looking dreadful)
‘Such a lovely frock, you always have such gorgeous taste.
I’ve been thinking of your accident (you talk of nothing else)
and thinking, though it’s such a funny story (yes, it is, it really is)
it must have been so terrifying (is that David over there?)
How awful. Was it really? Yes, I can imagine
(who’s the harpy that he’s talking to? she isn’t one of us)
Oh, dahling, if you ever feel like that again (pray heaven not)
you know you can rely on me’ (he’s moving off, I really must …)
I slink towards my target
‘Dahling, where have you been hiding?’

Kathy Gee lives in Worcestershire and works in museums and heritage. In 2016 her first poetry collection – Book of Bones – was published by V. Press – http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.co.uk/p/book-of-bones.html and she wrote the spoken word elements for a contemporary choral composition – http://suiteforthefallensoldier.com/ .